Singapore international schools are plenty, so save this handy guide that'll show you what you need to know!

Choosing an International School: Guide for Expats in Singapore

Expats in Singapore usually prefer to enrol their children in an international school because they want an environment with a local culture similar to their home country to ease the child’s adaptation process.

In addition, they also travel around a lot for work and find it challenging to wait for places in local schools. Besides, living in Singapore means plenty of choices for reputable international schools!

There are many reasons why choosing an international school can be difficult for expats when they move to Singapore, especially when there are many factors to consider, including the location and curriculum.

However, choosing an international school is not as difficult as it might seem at first glance. With our guide below, we hope to help you make the right choice and find the perfect place for your child to learn!

Common Questions Asked By Expats When Choosing an International School

When you are looking for schools for expats in Singapore, do consider these FAQs!

If you’re an expat in Singapore looking for international schools, you might not know what you need to ask. We’ve compiled questions that you can refer to when you are looking for an international school for your children.

1. How much do international schools cost?

Find out school fees before choosing a primary or secondary school in Singapore

The admission costs of international schools in Singapore vary depending on the school, but they will likely be higher than local schools.

The average cost of an international school year is estimated at $40,000 per pupil. This includes the application fee and enrolment fees.

Some schools may also require pupils to pay other fees such as visa fees, accommodation costs and transportation costs. If you think you have to take your children out of school due to relocation, you should also check the international school’s refund policy.

The Perse School Singapore offers competitive and transparent school fees. Average annual tuition fees are around $25,000. Admissions are open all year round, and tuition fees for the term that pupils join are pro-rated based on the pupil’s start date. It also offers a refund policy in exceptional cases.

2. Does the school offer progression after graduation?

Singapore's international schools usually offer either International Baccalaureate programmes or the Cambridge framework.

Most international schools offer a variety of ways to transition into secondary and higher education. Some international schools offer International Baccalaureate programmes which lead to an IB diploma, while other international schools follow the Cambridge IGCSE framework.

If you are thinking of having your child take the Cambridge Advanced Level (A Levels), commonly known as A Levels, then you’ll need to search for an international school which will provide your child with the preparatory background.

The A levels are a pre-university qualification recognised worldwide by universities, especially in the United Kingdom.

In order to take the A levels, your child needs to enrol in primary schools that align with the British Curriculum. For example, The Perse School Singapore follows the Cambridge International Primary Curriculum which offers a well-rounded program for children aged between 5 to 13 years old. Pupils who graduate from the programme can continue with higher education progressing towards A levels.

3. What curriculum/subjects are offered?

The best international school is one that offers your child a holistic education and good national curriculum

The international school you choose for your children should offer a variety of programs and activities that are designed to help pupils develop their skills and interests in a wide range of areas.

For example, your children will enjoy the enriching Chinese lessons at The Perse School Singapore. The school offers lessons in English, but pupils get to study either Standard Chinese or Chinese as a Foreign Language, to further develop their Chinese language proficiency.

The Perse School Singapore also offers physical activities such as swimming lessons. Every child receives weekly swimming lessons which take place at Temasek Club, just a stone’s throw away from the school, led by professional swimming coaches and cater for all abilities.

Therefore, it’s important to select international schools which offer a wide range of opportunities for children to develop their natural curiosity!

4. What is the admission process?

Admission Process for International Schools - Tests and Exams

To ensure you get your children enrolled in the international school of your choice, make sure you are familiar with the admission process.

First, know the school’s entry criteria so you do not waste time on options that your child cannot meet. For example, check if the school has a language requirement that your child needs to meet.

Second, find out what placement tests your child may need to undergo before admission. This might include language proficiency as well as Maths and Science competencies. Most international schools in Singapore will have this process to determine how to place the child at the right level.

Also check whether the school accepts pupils only at certain parts of the year, or year-round. Finally, check whether there is an entrance priority or waitlist. Some international schools might have an admission priority for affiliated nationalities or kindergartens.

For instance, The Perse School Singapore offers priority places for its affiliated kindergartens in Singapore, with a waiver of the application and enrolment fees. While there is no academic requirement, there is a short entrance assessment. If there are open places, placement is within 24 hours once pupils have undertaken the assessment.

5. What application documents do I need?

Most applications will need you to submit documents proving a pupil’s eligibility to study here.

They might also require records of past academic records, parents’ Employment passes, and other relevant documents. Here are some documents that various schools might require you to submit:

  • Parent’s and child’s passport
  • Eligible passes (e.g. Dependent Pass, Student Pass etc.)
  • Recent academic reports and transcripts
  • Passport-sized photograph
  • Child’s medical report
  • Employment Letter of Guarantee

This list is neither exhaustive nor applicable to all schools. You should be able to find out what type of admission documents are required when you speak to the admissions team.

6. What school facilities are there?

School facilities are important for children to learn well - primary and secondary students

School facilities are important because they allow pupils to learn in a safe and supportive environment.

For example, The Perse School Singapore is well-equipped with classrooms designed for comfort and optimised for collaboration. Pupils have individual iPads that they can use to present their learning and receive feedback on touchscreen Apple TVs. All of these modern facilities allow pupils to learn in an immersive environment that is conducive to learning.

7. What extracurricular activities are offered?

ECAs offer pupils more opportunities to develop soft skills

Extra-curricular activities (ECAs) are after-school activities and they are important in a school because they help pupils develop their talents, interests, and personalities.

When choosing an international school, do look to see if the school offers a range of opportunities so the child learns to take initiative and assert their leadership skills.

You can support your child’s curiosity by choosing an international school like The Perse School Singapore, which lets children sign up for at least one ECA per term. The school offers a range of programs such as Chess, Trinity Speech & Drama, and Scouts. Examples of other ECA’s are Dodgeball, Multisport, Knitting, Debate Club and many more!

Come and view our school at Perse!

best private schools in singapore - primary school, elementary school

At The Perse School Singapore, we aim to offer premier education for primary and secondary pupils. Expat parents can look forward to our lower secondary curriculum which is estimated to be fully implemented by 2024.

While the above can give you a good idea of what school life at The Perse School Singapore is like, it’s always best to check it out for yourself. Book a campus tour today!

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